Derby County striker Jack Stretton is proving his worth while out on loan at Stockport County and his development could save the club a big fee this summer.
The Rams are among the lowest scorers in the Championship this season.
Wayne Rooney’s side have managed to find the net just 29 times in 39 games, with ageing striker Colin Kazim-Richards leading the scoring charts with seven goals.
Derby must address their striker options this summer.
Martyn Waghorn is out of contract at Pride Park this summer, while Jack Marriott is out of favour and Lee Gregory will return to Stoke City after his loan deal ends.
Finding a decent striker this summer will be a difficult task. New work permit regulations will likely rule out bringing in foreign talent such as former target Serdar Dursun.
But Derby may have the answer to their problems within their own ranks.
Stretton has been excellent for the U23s this season, scoring eight goals in ten Premier League 2 appearances and prompting interest from the lower leagues in January.
The 19-year-old moved to Conference side Stockport County on loan for experience, and he has since scored three goals in five games as he demonstrates real potential.
Derby have already seen the likes of Lee Buchanan, Max Bird, Jason Knight and Louie Sibley come through their thriving academy to establish themselves as seniors.
The Rams have another wave of talent coming through, and Stretton could be the latest to fill a potential void left by Waghorn should he depart on a free transfer.